Claire Cook, the bestselling author of eleven novels, has proven time and time again that she can write compelling and entertaining fiction that leaves you wanting more. (Must Love Dogs, anyone?) And now with her latest, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (Without Getting Lost Along the Way), she's proving that she also excels at writing non-fiction. And not just any type of non-fiction. She has penned a funny, yet informative guide to living the life you actually want to live. (Go to ClaireCook.com to read an excerpt and to download a free workbook.) And we have a copy to give away! Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win. Contest closes on October 12th at 8am PST.
The scoop: Claire Cook speaks to real women—our fears and obstacles and hopes and desires—and gives us cutting edge tools to get where we want to go. Bursting with inspiration, insider stories, and practical strategies. Filled with humor, heart, encouragement, and great quotes. Claire Cook shares everything she's learned on her own journey— from writing her first book in her minivan at 45, to walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Must Love Dogs at 50, to becoming the international bestselling author of eleven novels and a sought after reinvention speaker. You'll hop on a plane with Claire as you figure out the road to your own reinvention. You'll laugh a lot and maybe even shed a few tears as Claire tells her stories and those of other reinventors, and shares her best tips for getting a plan, staying on track, pulling together a support system, building your platform in the age of social networking, dealing with the inevitable ups and downs, overcoming perfectionism, and tuning in to your authentic self to propel you toward your goals.
Our thoughts: A quick read with practical tips for everyone, whether you want a major life overhaul or to make small, but significant changes.
Liz & Lisa's Book Club: Never Too Late by Claire Cook
Reinvention is pretty much the theme of my books and my life. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie adaptation of my second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.
I’m now the author of 12 books, and wherever I am—on book tour or at speaking engagements or online—reinvention has become the thing that everyone wants to talk me about. And it feels great to be able to tell them that it is truly never too late.
One day it just hit me that even if I kept traveling and traveling, I wasn’t going to meet everyone in person. So I decided it was time to share everything I’ve learned on my own journey that might help other women in theirs. And that’s how Never Too Late, my first nonfiction book after 11 novels, was born
2. Tell us about the concept of the Reinvention Intersection
I think we all have that sweet spot—the place where the life we want to live and our ability interest. For some, the trick is finding it. If you’re one of those people, you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, whether you’re pushing thirty or eighty.
For others, like me, deep down inside you already know what you want, so it’s all about finding the courage to dig up that dream and dust it off.
Over the last decade and a half, I’ve talked to thousands of women hoping to reinvent their lives, and they usually fall into one of these two categories. I try to give tips, strategies and encouragement for both in Never Too Late.
3. We love that this book can be for someone who wants a major life overhaul and also for those who desire small, but substantial changes. After reading this book, what is the next step for a person in either of these categories?
Stop listening to all the reasons you can’t, or shouldn’t do it—whether they come from within or without. Rise above the negativity and take one simple step in the direction you want to go. Then get up the next morning and do it again. And again. And again.
4. What is your advice for someone who has a "buried dream" but also gives herself a million reasons why she shouldn't unearth it?
To recognize that it’s a choice. The difference between me and someone who hasn’t gone after a buried dream is that I finally shook off all the fear and procrastination, and just did it. If you don’t actually write the book, it can’t get published.
Every day your life gives you perfectly legitimate reasons not to go after your dream. We’re all crazy busy. Somebody always needs something. You have to want it enough to do it anyway, and in the book I offer strategies for building your dream into your life.
5. We love how you tie in the fictional books you've written and identify how the characters in your books might also help someone who wants to reinvent herself. Which of your books/characters do you feel is the most inspiring? Or is this impossible to choose?
Thank you! I always feel like the next book/character I write will be my best work. I guess that’s what keeps me motivated enough to do it again. And I love that my readers all have a different favorite. I think it’s usually the one that cuts closest to their own lives, which makes sense because I think one of the reasons we read is to find ourselves.
One of my favorite parts of being a novelist is that I get to live all of my heroines' lives vicariously, but still stay in my own wheelhouse, focused on the thing I do best.
Sarah in Must Love Dogs is a preschool teacher, and in Book 2, Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, she takes on a summer consulting gig teaching social skills to twenty-somethings at a video game company. In The Wildwater Walking Club, Noreen is duped by a sorta boyfriend into taking a corporate buyout and gets involved in walking and lavender and clotheslines. In Life's a Beach, Ginger transitions from a series of dead-end sales jobs to making sea glass jewelry while she spends time on a movie set as her nephew's guardian.
In Summer Blowout, the family business is a hair salon, and Bella's reinvention involves staying away from her ex-husband, who has run off with her half-sister, and creating her own personalized makeup kits. March and her daughter go to college at the same time in Multiple Choice and end up with their own radio show.
And on and on! That’s a whole bunch of lives to live without ever leaving your computer!
6. Tell us about the line from your novel, Multiple Choice, "Karma is a boomerang" and how you tie that into this book
Karma is a boomerang is one of the smartest things one of my characters has ever said. In Multiple Choice, it’s a tagline for a crazy New Age radio show, but it’s also one of my favorite sayings.
That some kindness you put out into the world can boomerang back to you is something I believe with all my heart. This is not to say that I go around doing nice things all day long just to get something back. The truth is that sometimes it boomerangs and sometimes it doesn't. But still, whether it comes back to you or not, sprinkling kindness as you go is a great way to walk through the world.
My two best karma is a boomerang stories are both in Never Too Late—how the Must Love Dogs movie happened and how I ended up on the Today show